Football takes another step closer to coming home when England take on Belgium in Kaliningrad on Thursday night. Having already qualified from the group, Gareth Southgate’s side now have the opportunity to get their tournament off to the best possible start with three wins from three. However, this game will prove to be one of their toughest tests as they take on the much-fancied Belgium team.
Belgium looked to be in pole position to top the group after beating Tunisia 5-2, but England showed that they too can score goals in their 6-1 demolition against Panama. Although, with results in other groups not expected, the side who finishes second in the group would have an easier run to the final.
As it stands, it’s very even between the two teams and whoever wins will top the group. However, a draw would see the standings be determined by fair play rules, with England currently ahead with one less yellow card. The drawing of lots will take place if their disciplinary records are equal at the end of the game.
England vs. Belgium Predictions
This will be a fascinating game and the result will all depend on whether there is some rotation in team selection. If there isn’t any rotation, then we could see a high-scoring thriller. If there is, then it could be a dull affair. There’s not much to pick from between the two sides, so a draw might be a good bet here. VAR might also get involved, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the penalty markets.
England vs. Belgium Betting Tips
Head to Head
- This will be the third meeting between England and Belgium at the W. Cup, with England so far unbeaten in their encounters. They drew 4-4 in 1954 and the Three Lions won 1-0 in the second round in 1990, with a volley from David Platt.
- Belgium have won just one of their 21 meetings with England (D5 L15), a 3-2 victory in May 1936.
- England are unbeaten in their last 11 meetings with Belgium (W7 D4), most recently winning a friendly in June 2012 courtesy of a Danny Welbeck goal, his first for England (1-0).
- Belgium have won each of their last two W. Cup matches by a margin of three goals. No team has ever won three consecutive matches at the W. Cup by three or more goals.
- England have already scored eight goals in the 2018 W. Cup (level with 1954 and 1990). The only time they’ve ever scored more in a single edition of the competition was in 1966 (11 goals).
- Only in 1982 have England ever won all three of their group stage games in a W. Cup tournament.
- England’s Harry Kane has scored five goals in the group stages of this tournament. Before 2018, the last player to score more in the first round of a single W. Cup was Russia’s Oleg Salenko in 1994 (six goals).
- Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has played three matches previously with England’s Jordan Pickford as the opposition goalkeeper, all in the Premier League, scoring five goals against him, including a hat-trick in September 2016 for Everton against Sunderland. The only player to score more Premier League goals against Pickford is Harry Kane (6).
- Romelu Lukaku has scored 23 goals in 20 appearances for Belgium under manager Roberto Martinez, scoring four goals from four shots on target at this year’s World Cup.
- Harry Kane has scored in each of his last five appearances for England. The last player to score in six games in a row for the Three Lions was Tommy Lawton back in 1939.
England Team News
Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
Belgium Team News
Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Youri Tielemens (Monaco), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian), Michy Batshuayi (Borussia Dortmund), Nacer Chadli (WBA), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)